No More Balloon Releases

  • by: NY4WHALES.org
  • target: Ad Council, Waterford Event Management, Production Services Association, International Association of Corporate Entertainment Producers and Federal, State and Local Officials
Balloon releases are everywhere! Millions each year are released during celebrations, charity fund raisers, birthday parties, even funerals!  Eventually the balloons will burst into fragments and drop to the earth, with a 70% chance they will hit waterways and be tragically and mistakenly ingested by marine animals, birds, sea turtles, even whales and dolphins! Marketers of balloons and mass releases tell the public latex balloons are 100% bio-degradable, comparable to an oak leaf. Yet an oak leaf can take 6 months or more to degrade (some claim as long as 4 years!). Balloons, their fragments, ribbons and strings, resemble floating plankton, kelp and jellyfish and when consumed, can block internal organs causing the animal or bird to starve to death, as verified by necropsy. Mylar balloons, as well as ribbons and strings, are NOT bio-degradable. While wildlife suffers, volunteers and non-profit groups unfairly face the burden (and costs) of cleaning up balloon litter mess. Municipalities, advertisers and event planners typically flaunt relevant balloon release laws while they should be working to prevent balloon releases! There is growing public disgust with balloon releases, and despite the cause or event, many will be offended. Physicians are complaining that helium, used for medical equipment, is becoming more scarce and expensive. We need a sensible approach to marketing and event planning, and we must ban the mass release of balloons, everywhere!
Dear Ad Council, Production Services Association, International Association of Corporate Entertainment Producers, Waterford Event Management and Federal, State and Local Officials:

Please distribute this letter to the thousands of ad agencies and advertisers with membership in the Ad Council, Production Services Association, International Association of Corporate Entertainment Producers, and Waterford Event Management.
We, the undersigned, are collectively requesting that MASS BALLOON RELEASES be no longer featured in advertisements or organized events! Balloons represent airborne litter.  Released balloons will eventually burst into fragments and drop to the earth, with a 70% chance they will hit waterways and be mistakenly ingested by marine animals, birds, turtles, even whales and dolphins. Balloons, their fragments, ribbons and strings, resemble floating plankton, kelp and jellyfish and when consumed, can block internal organs causing the animal or bird to starve to death, as verified by necropsy. The thousands of balloons that are released to promote a new video game, raise money for some charitable cause, or as a commemoration or memorial only create another problem - litter and threats to the survival of wildlife.  

Marketers of balloons and mass releases tell the public that latex balloons are 100% bio-degradable, comparable to an oak leaf. Yet an oak leaf can take 6 months or more to degrade. (Some will argue up to 4 years!) Latex fragments will create havoc in marine life repeatedly through the food chain before they dissolve, and the particles broken down through the process will be ingested as well. Smaller fish that are killed by balloon litter are then eaten by larger fish who are then impacted, even to death, by that same litter.  The cycle can continue for months.  Strings and ribbons, as well as mylar balloons are NOT bio-degradable. Balloon litter is one of the major components of marine debris, thanks to senseless, mass balloon releases!

Medical personnel are complaining that helium, used for important medical equipment, is becoming more scarce and expensive. The non-essential use of helium, such as for balloon releases,  must be stopped! 
While wildlife suffers, volunteers and caring organizations are unfairly faced with the burden and costs of cleaning up the mess caused by the frivolous, unnecessary and destructive release of balloons.  Advertising with balloon releases must stop! The public should not be told, "There is no environmental impact!" Some believe this is fraudulent and deceptive, falsely assuring the well-meaning public that the activity will have no adverse effects.

Recognizing the problems caused by balloon litter, many restrictive balloon release laws have passed. By promoting and supporting an illegal activity, advertisers and event planners are guilty as well. Municipalities and organizers should adhere to local balloon release laws, while voluntarily ceasing all promotion, advertising with and releasing of balloons. 

Millions of people are represented by this petition. Consumers are weary of seeing "freedom" represented in advertising by balloons floating away only to become part of the already vast marine debris field. Whether it is advertising for birth control pills, learning a language, promoting theme parks or sporting events, the mass release of balloons MUST CEASE! There is growing public disgust with balloon releases, and despite the cause or event, many will be offended.

Let's have a safe and sensible approach to marketing and events! Let's stop the use of balloon releases in advertising and celebrations! Let's support legislation to protect our environment and stop making this huge component and problem of marine debris even worse!

After the distribution of this letter to your membership, please contact us for more information and how you can partner with ny4whales.org and others to stop the mass release of balloons worldwide. Thank you in advance for your concern and cooperation.
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